Today, an opposition coalition of, Independent Group, Labour, People Before Profit, Right to Change, Sinn Fein and the Social Democrats will bring forward the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) (Extension of Notice Periods) Bill 2021. The Bill, referred to as the Simon Homeless Prevention Bill, was proposed by the Simon Communities of Ireland in response to the need for greater protections for those in the private rental sector who are at risk of homelessness.
The Simon Bill proposes an amendment to the Residential Tenancies Act that will provide a targeted intervention to prevent homelessness.
The amendment will allow local authorities to determine whether a person or family are ‘at risk of homelessness’. They key difference with this legislative proposal to previous extensions to notice periods is that it is triggered by the involvement of a local authority, and allows a local authority to engage for a three-month period with a person or family who is at risk of homelessness.
It comes just days after the recent homeless figures saw an increase for the fifth consecutive month and the publication of the Simon Communities Locked Out report, which showed a 79% decrease in the availability of properties with housing assistance payment rates.
Wayne Stanley, Head of Policy and Communications at the Simon Communities of Ireland
“This amendment to the Residential Tenancies Act will give those in crisis, more time to secure a home with the support of their local authority and organisations like Simon. In 2020, we saw a huge reduction in homelessness because of the moratorium on evictions. Our amendment draws its inspiration from that success.
It’s clear to all that we have significant structural deficits in our housing system that will continue to drive people into homelessness. We need to see the supply of affordable housing increased but this is going to take time.
In the meantime, and in addition, we have to take preventative action. The Simon Homeless Prevention Bill is a targeted measure that can see the number of people forced to enter homelessness reduced.”
Richard Boyd Barrett, People Before Profit T.D. said:
“The Homeless Prevention Bill from Simon, who do fantastic work to support homeless people, is a very important practical intervention into the housing and homelessness crisis. Once again evictions and homeless figures are on the rise again and all measures that support tenants and try and prevent evictions into homelessness are extremely welcome.”
Joan Collins, Right to Change T.D. said:
“I am supporting the Simon Communities Bill as every action that can prevent people been evicted into homelessness is a progressive protective step for people facing rising notices to quit , evictions and homelessness. In October there was 8.830 women , men and children in emergency accommodation up 4.2% on September. It is a Bill that every party can support and I hope that on December the 14th it will have the support of Government parties.”
Cian O’Callaghan, Social Democrats T.D. said:
“As the number of people living in Emergency accommodation continues to rise month after month, it is essential that the Government act urgently to prevent people becoming homeless. The Simon Homeless Prevention Bill provides clear measures that will help reduce the number of people becoming homeless. I’m calling on the Government to support this Bill and ensure that we urgently tackle homelessness and support those most at risk of losing their home.”
Marian Harkin, Independent T.D. said:
“This Bill will provide a short window of increased protection to families and those who are imminently at risk of homelessness. The three month extension proposed in the Bill will allow the Local Authority make flexible use of the Homeless Housing Assistance Payment (HHAP), while supporting families to access alternative accommodation.”
Eoin Ó Broin, Sinn Fein T.D. said:
“As Notices to Quit, evictions and homeless presentations are all starting to rise, we need a great focus on homeless prevention. The Simon Communities Bill is a simple and eminently sensible measure designed to reduce the number of people evicted into homelessness. It has strong cross party support from the Opposition. Hopefully on December 14th when it is debated and voted at Second stage it will also have the support of the Government parties.”
Ged Nash, Labour Party T.D. said:
“The Labour Party fully supports this progressive and straightforward piece of legislation. The Bill might be short but if it enacted it would have a far reaching and immediate impact for those who are at a real risk of homelessness as a result of a tenancy coming to end.”
For more on the Simon Bill see – https://www.simon.ie/about-the-simon-bill/
For further information contact Aileen Gaskin 087 7724 717 / firstname.lastname@example.org
About Simon Communities
The Simon Communities support over 18,000 men, women, and children. We have 50 years of experience providing homeless, housing and treatment services to people facing the trauma and stress of homelessness. We are a network of independent Communities based in Cork, Dublin, Dundalk, Galway, the Midlands, the Mid West, the Northwest and the Southeast, responding to local needs and supported by a National Office in the areas of policy, research, communications and best practice. We share common values and ethos in tackling homelessness and, informed by our grassroots services, we campaign for more effective policies and legislation regionally, nationally and at European level.
Whatever the issue, Simon’s door is always open for as long as we are needed. For more information, please visit www.simon.ie.
• Homelessness prevention, tenancy sustainment and resettlement
• Street outreach, emergency accommodation and harm reduction
• Housing with support and Housing First services
• Homeless specific health and wellbeing services (counselling; addiction treatment and recovery; and mental health supports)
• Personal development, education, training, and employment services
• Food banks, drop-in centres and soup runs